A History of Frozen Food
Clarence Birdseye invented, developed, and commercialized a method for quick-freezing food products in convenient packages and without altering the original taste. “Frosted foods” were sold to the public for the first time in 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, under the tradename Birds Eye Frosted Foods®. While Clarence Birdseye has become a household name, his process has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Fruits and vegetables chosen for fresh produces isles are usually picked before they ripen, which gives them less time to reach higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. The appearance of ‘ripening’ still occurs, but this produce will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the plant.
Clarence Birdseye was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York A taxidermist by trade, but a chef at heart, Clarence Birdseye wished his family could have fresh food all year. After observing the people of the Arctic preserving fresh fish and meat in barrels of sea water quickly frozen by the arctic temperatures, he concluded that it was the rapid freezing in the extremely low temperatures that made food retain freshness when thawed and cooked months later.
In 1923, with an investment of $7 for an electric fan, buckets of brine, and cakes of ice, Clarence Birdseye invented and later perfected a system of packing fresh food into waxed cardboard boxes and flash-freezing under high pressure. The Goldman-Sachs Trading Corporation and the Postum Company (later the General Foods Corporation) bought Clarence Birdseye’s patents and trademarks in 1929 for $22 million. The first quick-frozen vegetables, fruits, seafoods, and meat.
Clarence Birdseye turned his attention to other interests and invented an infrared heat lamp, a spotlight for store window displays, a harpoon for marking whales, then established companies to market his products.
Nutritional Five Food Finds about Frozen Food
- Fruits and vegetables tend to be frozen at their peak ripeness, a time when they have the most nutrients.
- Pumpkins and tomatoes lose little nutritional value during the freezing process.
- When shopping for frozen foods, choose those marked with the USDA ‘U.S. Fancy’ shield. Vegetables of this standard tend to be more nutrient-rich than the lower grades ‘U.S. No. 1’ or ‘U.S. No. 2.’
- Steaming or microwaving (instead of boiling) frozen foods minimizes the loss of vitamins & nutrients.
- Frozen produce sales have climbed faster than fresh produce sales over the past five years.
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